#Day44: Suckling, Expected Mothers Migrating to ‘Pepper Free’ Zones

Zafar Aafaq


Artist Masood Hussain’s latest portrayal of Kashmir situation.

With violent methods of “crowd control” like use of pellets, pepper gas, tear smoke, harassments, beating continue to be employed unabatedly across Kashmir, the concern of how to safeguard the infants and small children continue to grow.

The escalation in violence has forced the migration of suckling mothers along with their children to less affected localities. Even expected mothers are reportedly running toward pepper-free zones for the well-being of their yet-to-be born children.

Batmaloo is one such locality which is witnessing firing of pepper gas shells daily alongside strict siege. Seeing the violent actions unfolding in front of their eyes, many such mothers have left the place.

Fareeda, a suckling mother, resident of Sheikh Dawood Colony, told Kashmir Life from her parents’ home in Shalteng that she left her in Laws home two days back after a pepper gas shell burst in their backyard. “My one year old baby started coughing, crying which worried us a lot,” she said. “Thereafter, late in the night, my husband drove us to my home in Shalteng.”

In another instance, a mother along with her newly born daughter from Chatabal area, is living with her sister in Rajbagh locality for the past one week as Chattabal is witnessing clashes and forces action regularly.

Similar reports are coming from parts of south Kashmir where forces are reportedly resorting to every possible “crowd-control” methods to counter the massive protests. The rampant use of pepper and tear gas smoke has already forced the migration.

“My sister fled home to be with her relatives at civil lines after frequent pepper use terrified her,” said Farooq, a grocer from Old City. “Even her doctor had advised her to move.”

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